Sam Bird, who contest for DS Virgin Racing.
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Bird on clue in Marrakesh.
Hong Kong may accept concluded badly, but things looked up in the Marrakesh race, with Bird finishing second.
Marta Rovatti Studihrad
After what seems like an interminably continued break—punctuated by the world’s best advantageous e-sports race—the Formula E electric antagonism championship swings aback into activity this weekend in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Aftermost year, DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird won the race, and we afresh batten with him about the team’s new car, that e-sports race, the division so far, and the challenges ahead.
Bird had a able assuming in the season-opening chase in Hong Kong aftermost October until abstruse troubles bedridden his pit stop; he was active in the advance and looked set for a win until the problems alone him bottomward to an closing thirteenth place. Things went bigger in Morocco in November, with the adolescent British disciplinarian claiming additional afterwards a late-race pass. “Marrakesh feels like a continued time ago now,” Bird told us, “but the division is activity OK so far. I was aghast with our all-embracing clip in Hong Kong, and we should accept won if not for the problem. But there’s no acumen we can’t accept a appropriate result.”
In part, that’s because this season’s Spark-Citroën Virgin DSV-02 chase car introduces some cogent changes to the apparatus Bird campaigned in the 2015-2016 championship. Notably, it has confused from aftermost year’s twin-motor agreement to a distinct motor-generator assemblage (a architecture best that abounding of the teams are absorption on). That change has appear with big assets in drivability, Bird explained.
“Last year, our car was acutely heavy,” he said. “It was over the minimum weight, and that was all at the rear of the car with the accompanying motors and abundant gearbox casing. In fact, it was 35kg (77lbs) ample at the rear axle. This year, it’s on the weight target, so our minimum acceleration through corners is better, our annoy activity is best at the rear, and it makes the car abundant easier to drive.”
One of Bird’s absolute strengths in Formula E is his absorbing adeptness to administer array performance, article of a call in a alternation area drivers still charge to about-face cars mid-race to complete the abounding distance. Bird told us it takes a aggregation effort, and affluence of adamantine assignment goes on abaft the scenes. With aloof 28kWh of activity in anniversary absolutely answerable car, that agency a Formula E chase isn’t as simple as aloof active as fast as possible. Drivers accept to apply energy-saving techniques—lifting (off the accelerator) and benumbed through corners instead of braking, alive aback to change energy, and so on.
“We assignment adamantine with electronics and abstracts guys to assignment out area to lift the most, area to lift baby amounts, and area to regen[erate], bottomward to the centimeter for anniversary track. Afresh we convenance that in the simulator, afresh on the circuit,” he told us. The drivers accept a little advice in the car acknowledgment to software accoutrement attainable through the car’s multifunction council caster that can accord them prompts on-track. Unlike Formula 1, there’s no absolute accouterments development accustomed during the season, as teams accept to homologate their cars afore the aboriginal race. But Bird told us that the team keeps alive on the electronics and software ancillary of things to acquisition advantages.
Still, Bird accustomed that assault the Renault e.dams aggregation will be boxy this season. “Season three will be actual difficult, as anybody has converged technologically (on agnate motor/gearbox layouts). But Renault still accept an advantage; they’re a division up the alley and accept a able disciplinarian lineup. They’ll be acutely difficult to beat, but we can do it as continued as we’re on top of our game,” he said. Competition is still fierce, though: “The midfield backpack has bankrupt up a lot; one weekend you could be condoning on the advanced row, the abutting weekend in 14th!”
Finally, we had to get Bird’s thoughts on that Vegas eRace. “It’s a cast new abstraction that [Formula E’s boss, Alejandro] Agag is trying. It was an agitative new beginning idea, and that’s what Formula E is all about. But if we go aback again, there are some things that charge to be changed,” he said. “CES is about assuming off new articles to customers, so it’s important we appearance article beginning and agitative that gamers are admiring to.” (Here Bird is apropos to the use of rFactor 2 as the eRace platform, a move that drew affluence of gibes from assemblage due to the anachronistic graphics.)
If you appetite to see how DS Virgin Antagonism and Sam Bird get on in Argentina, the abutting annular takes abode on Saturday, February 18. In the US it’ll be apparent on Fox Sports 2 at 10pm Eastern; in the UK, bolt it on Channel 5 at 6:30pm UK time.
Listing angel by Marta Rovatti Studihrad
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